Lucknow: Former Union Minister Swami Chinmayanand, who is out on bail in a case in which he is accused of sexually abusing a law student, appeared before a special MP/MLA court here Wednesday. Judge PK Rai fixed March 4 as the next date of hearing for the framing of charges.
The court also issued a non-bailable warrant against the woman student for not appearing before it in another case of extortion lodged by advocate Om Singh with the Shahjahanpur police. As the matter was set for framing of charges, the court observed that because of the student’s absence, the charges could not be framed.
Chinmayanand, 72, was released from the Shahjahanpur district jail after the Allahabad High Court granted him bail. While granting him bail, Justice Rahul Chaturvedi also transferred Chinmayanand’s trial from Shahjahanpur to Lucknow, taking note of the victim’s apprehension that he could influence proceedings in his hometown.
“The trial court will take up the case on a priority basis, preferably on a day-to- day basis and the trial will be concluded within one year,” the high court had said in its order. The bail order directed Chinmayanand to file an undertaking that he would not seek any adjournments and be present in the court.
The court had also directed Lucknow’s SSP to depute a senior sub-inspector and armed constables for the security of the student and her family members during the trial period.
Chinmayanand, whose trust runs the Shahjahanpur law college where the woman studied, was arrested September 20 under Section 376-C of the IPC, a charge short of rape. It is applied when someone in authority takes advantage of his official position to ‘induce or seduce’ a woman to have sex with him.
In a parallel case, the woman was arrested for trying to extort money from Chinmayanand, whom she had accused of rape. She and her three friends had allegedly threatened to release video clips of massages she claimed she was forced to perform on the politician, who was disowned by the ruling BJP after the sexual abuse charges surfaced.
The high court granted the woman bail in the extortion case December 4.